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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 22:30 GMT 23:30 UK
US U-turn on upbeat terror report
British forensic officer clears condolence flowers from the rubble of the bombed consulate in Istanbul
The 2003 Istanbul blasts: one of many attacks on western interests
Global terror attacks are on the rise, says the US State Department, admitting an earlier report - which had claimed attacks were tailing off - was wrong.

The State Department reported in April that there were fewer terror attacks in 2003 than in any year since 1969.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said data in that report was misleading - but said this was an "honest" error.

Bush administration officials had cited the April report as proof that the US was winning its "war on terror".

'No political motive'

The original tally of 190 acts of terrorism in 2003 was hailed as "good news" by the State Department's head of counter-terrorism, J Cofer Black, who predicted the trend would continue this year.

It now appears that figure was an under-estimate.

"Based on our review subsequently to all this coming to light," said State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, "we determined that the data in the report are incomplete and in some cases incorrect."

"We got the wrong data and we did not check it enough," he said.

This was echoed by Mr Powell, who admitted, "Errors crept in and frankly, we did not catch them."

He dismissed the suggestion that the report's findings might have been manipulated deliberately.

"I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can," he said.

Revised report

Opposition lawmakers had claimed the report downplayed the terror threat to suit the political needs of US President George W Bush, who faces an election this year and wants to show the public his anti-terror strategy is a success.

Democrat Congress member, Henry Waxman, accused the government earlier this week of distorting the initial report.

Mr Boucher said Mr Waxman's allegation was being addressed.

He added that errors in the report had begun to become apparent in May.

He said a revised report was being prepared and it would show a steep rise in the number of attacks compared to the original analysis.


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